Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, suggested that a Haaretz cartoon that appeared about a week before the nuclear deal between Iran and the powers was signed last year may have led the United States to toughen its stand, an Iranian journalist reported on Wednesday.
Saeid Jafari, who covered the negotiations in Vienna on the nuclear agreement signed on July 14 last year, wrote in the Iranian news site Khabar Online yesterday that Zarif said as much to some 15 Iranian reporters five days before the deal was signed.
In a briefing that was off the record and not for attribution, Zarif showed the reporters a cartoon by Amos Biderman that appeared in Haaretz on July 6, Jafari wrote. The cartoon showed Zarif as a teamster waving a carrot in front of a horse in the form of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was pulling his cart.
According to the report, Zarif said at the briefing that the cartoon had humiliated Kerry. "This cartoon caused the negotiations considerable damage," Zarif is cited as saying. "Just like we don't like to be humiliated, the other side doesn't like to be humiliated either."
He said the cartoon "created the false impression in the United States that Kerry has accepted all Iran's demands, so pressure was exerted on him." Zarif asked the reporters not to humiliate Kerry in their reports, Jafari wrote.